What's this gummy stuff on my clothes after I wash them?

Twice now since I moved into our house a year ago I’ve had several items of clothing in a load ruined by this sticky, gummy substance. At first I thought my husband had left a piece of gum in a pocket, but then it happened again with a load of just my clothes, and I know I didn’t do that. It doesn’t happen every time, and I can’t discern any pattern. I’m using the same detergent I used before the move, and I don’t use dryer sheets. We do have harder water here than we did at any other place we’ve lived, and for that reason I started adding Borax to my wash cycle. I also started using these because my clothes were coming out really linty, and they seem like the most likely culprit (that or a problem with the machines themselves), but they’ve also been helpful, so I don’t want to stop using them if they’re not actually the source.
(2 PK FurZapper Pet Hair Remover for Your Laundry Amazon.com)

Any ideas? I tried posting a photo but got a message that I can’t embed media items in a post (though it worked on the preview); hopefully this link works: https://hosting.photobucket.com/images/gg28/espriseme/20220427_122302.jpg

Have you considered not buying clothes from Haribo? :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Hmm, try an extra rinse cycle?

But that product has a LOT of negative reviews. So, try skipping it for a bit.

Borax + hot water + glue makes slime (the recipe is a staple for science teachers and kids’ party hosts). That fur zapper says pet hair “adheres to it” which suggests maybe it has some glue-like substance.

My guess is that it’s the combination of borax and fur zapper.

My wag is you use too much detergent.

What kind of detergent are you using? I use Tide pods or similar detergents depending on what’s available. I’ve noticed that sometimes the pod won’t dissolve properly and the liquid inside ends up stuck to one of the items of clothing, which I then have to run through a second cycle.

Not sure if it is any way related but boric acid and silicone makes silly putty. The fur zappers seem to be made out of silicone.

Threads like this are why I keep coming back to this board! :slight_smile:

Since the cause of the OP’s accidental science experiment seems to have been solved, I have another question for the OP: what kind of washer is this? If it’s a high efficiency washer, they’re notorious for holding water inside even at the end of the final spin cycle. Most of the time, this just results in horrible smells, but it can also promote the growth of impressive bacterial or mold mats (something I’ve experienced, unfortunately). That could also give the borax and fur zapper a place to build up, resulting in the intermittent ruined loads.

Yeah, I was wondering if this was a brand new washer or an old used one that came with the house, and whether they cleaned it first before using it.

I’ve had this happen over the past year or so too. Turns out I was using too much detergent. These HE machines really don’t need much. Since cutting down on the amount of detergent I add to the load, I haven’t had one glob.

FYI, just re-wash the affected clothes, and the globs will go away.

I’ll try to answer all the questions; let me know if I’ve missed any!

  • The machine is an Amana type 587-20. It’s a top- loading HE washer that came with the house. I don’t think the gunk is from the prior occupants since we’ve lived here almost a year and this just recently started happening.

  • For detergent, I typically use Earth Breeze sheets. The package says they work with HE machines, and I used them in the front-loading HE machine at our old apartment with no issues. In terms of the amount, they come in perforated sheets that can easily be split in two. The directions say to use half a sheet for regular loads, a full sheet for full loads, and two sheets for heavily soiled loads. Since I stopped separating by color, I always have very full loads, and I always use just half a sheet. However, as stated before, I do add a sprinkle of Borax to that.

  • I tried rinsing, soaking, and spot-treating the globs to no avail. This stuff is extremely hard and sticky. (Go ahead, let it out, I know what you’re all dying to say.) Even trying to pull apart the clothes where they’ve stuck together threatens to rip the fabric. What I did finally have success with was soaking in white vinegar, then scraping with my nails until it came off.

  • Although I now have a solution to the problem the next time it occurs, I still want to understand it, and prevent it from happening in the first place. I’m intrigued by the Borax + Fur Zapper = slime/Silly Putty theory. To test it, I have one of the Fur Zappers soaking in water and borax with a rag made from an old T-shirt. Nothing yet, but I’ll keep you all posted.

I never realized before the pun involved in silicone / Silly Putty.

Well, I couldn’t reproduce the gumminess by soaking the Fur Zapper in Borax and water with a rag. Maybe I should try again with some detergent in the mix.

Looking it up some more, you need something like hydrochloric acid reacted with borax to make boric acid. Um…any vomit on those clothes?

My wife tried those things and decided they were no match for a Siberian Husky.

Diluted borax probably won’t do much. Try putting a few tablespoons of borax in a bowl, put the fur zapper on top of it, then pour hot water (160-170F) over it. Don’t stir it; let’s see what happens when it’s concentrated.

Oh, I used a full load’s worth of Borax with only a tiny bit of water for the experiment, and I wash my clothes in cold water anyway. Although I suppose the dryer adds heat…

How did she fit the husky in with a full load of laundry?!

We never know if we’re putting the dog in the washer or just a giant clump of his hair. He produces enough hair every 3 days to make another dog. We vacuum a rug clean, he’ll lie down for a minute, and when he gets up there’s a dog shaped layer of white fur on the carpet. He’s solid white also, no less noticeable black hair, after he rides in the car and we open the windows it looks like it’s snowing.